Construction electricians read blueprints and install wiring and electrical controls in residential or commercial buildings while following state and local building regulations. They might also direct and train other workers who are learning the skills. Safety precautions must be taken when using hand or power tools and working with electricity.
|Education Required||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Training||Apprenticeship typically required|
|Licensure||Required in most states|
|Key Skills||Mechanical, math, troubleshooting, repair, design, construction, and customer service skills; familiarity with Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), database, project management, word processing, and scientific software; use of voltage meters, cable cutters, bending conduit tools, and stripping tools|
|Salary (2015)||$51,880 yearly (median for all electricians)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Careerbuilder.com job postings (February 2013), O*Net OnLine
Getting into this career requires a high school diploma and the completion of an apprenticeship program. Licensure is required in most states. Key skills for construction electricians include:
- Mechanical skills
- Customer service skills
- Math skills
- Construction knowledge
- Design skills
- Troubleshooting skills
- Repair skills
And familiarity with:
- Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software
- Database software
- Project management software
- Word processing software
- Scientific software
- Voltage meters
- Cable cutters
- Bending conduit tools
- Stripping tools
In 2015, electricians earned a median annual salary of $51,880, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Step 1: Complete Apprenticeship
To become a construction electrician, one must complete an apprenticeship program consisting of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training under a journeyman or master electrician and 576 hours of in-class instruction, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). One may enter an apprenticeship program to become an outside lineman, inside wireman, VDV installer technician or a residential wireman.
Apprenticeships are offered by unions, such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or National Electrical Contractors Association that have joined to form NJATC - National Joint Electrical Contractors Association (www.njatc.org). An apprenticeship program should be registered with the Office of Apprenticeship of the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOLOA). An apprentice takes his or her in-class training from any USDOLOA-approved training organization.
Consider taking classes that offer college credit. Apprentices can earn from 24-52 semester credit hours through the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service, depending on what type of electrician they are training to become. By transferring these credits towards a certificate or associate's degree at a university or college, a construction electrician can showcase his or her skills more effectively.
Step 2: Gain Licensure
The BLS reported that after completing an apprenticeship, one may apply for licensure as a journeyman worker and perform electrical duties independently. Apprentices should check with their state to see what the exact requirements are, since they vary. Generally, apprentices must pass a test that covers areas like state and local building and electrical codes, mathematics and theories of electricity.
Step 3: Take Continuing Education Courses
In order for licensed electricians to renew their license, they must usually take continuing education courses or workshops. Courses may include code changes, electrical theory and state laws. Generally, an electrician renews his or her license annually and must take between 3-4 hours of continuing education courses.
To take your career to the next level, consider master electrician education. Educational programs and classes for advancement to master electrician are also available. If a journeyman electrician wants to become a master electrician, they must typically have a specific number of years of experience working as an electrician and have held their journeyman's license for a specific amount of time. They must also pass a test administered by the state.
After the completion of an apprenticeship program and licensure, construction electricians can earn about $52,000 to read blueprints and install wiring and electrical controls in residential or commercial buildings while following state and local building regulations.